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Women in Music program brings Jodi Martin here


Zoe Satherley
20 March 2009
Singer and songwriter Jodi Martin, one of Southern Cross University’s best known ‘graduate divas’ from its Bachelor of Contemporary Music program, has her grandmother to thank for getting her started on a musical career.

Growing up in Ceduna, 800 kms west of Adelaide in the remote desert region of the Nullabor Plain, it was her grandmother’s insistence that the family purchase a piano that helped nurture her young grand-daughter’s love of all things musical.

Now the acclaimed performer will be the guest of Southern Cross University’s Women in Music program next Monday, March 23.

“Some of my earliest childhood memories are of playing on the piano, making up simple tunes and singing along with made-up songs. I would sing everywhere (and I still do),” Jodi said. “I sing in the shower, I sing in the car, I sing in the garden. I always have. I was writing songs at age five and performing them for family and friends.

“I taught myself to play piano and guitar mostly by ear and by the age of about 15, I had organised my younger brother and sister into a three-piece band. We played at all kinds of local gigs, even at the local pub, as there weren’t many bands in Ceduna at that time.

“I remember how we had pooled all of our pocket money for ages and saved enough to buy a drum kit and then a bass. We didn’t have any formal musical training, other than a few basic lessons from our local headmaster, but we still managed to get a name for ourselves.

“When I was about 16 a travelling band came and played in town and I got to be the supporting act for them. One of the band members seemed to be impressed with my performance and suggested I apply to study Contemporary Music at Southern Cross University.

“My university experience opened up a whole new world for me. It exposed me to a wonderful musical community and gave me a strong springboard to go on to pursue a professional career.”

Jodi Martin’s career highlights so far have been three critically acclaimed albums, her own recording label, Hot Bread Records, performances at international music festivals, and a solid national and international touring career, touring both solo and with acclaimed artists like Arlo Guthrie, Bruce Cockburn, Eric Bibb, The Frames and Ember Swift.

Jodi confesses to being ‘a real story person’ and likes her songs to tell a narrative or share a real-life experience. When writing songs, lyrics generally come first, but of late a new musical collaboration has enabled her to experiment with letting the music carry the tale.

“I have been working in Canada in Montreal with a gifted composer who doesn’t even listen to lyrics. He is challenging me to think differently,” she said.

“He focuses on making the music tell the story. We have performed for French audiences and I have learned the value of that approach as they can’t always relate to my English lyrics. It is adding another dimension to my songwriting and performing skills.”

Jodi said in the past year she had started doing vocal training exercises for the first time and was amazed at the difference it had made to her voice.

“It is much richer than before and I have a greater range in the upper register,” she said. “I am excited about building a long-term career and actually strengthening my voice over time through keeping up the training.”

Jodi will be performing and giving a guest lecture for Southern Cross University staff and students as part of the Women in Music program on Monday, March 23, in Room D1-29 from 9.30am.

Southern Cross University’s Women in Music Program, now in its 10th year, has been essential for addressing issues faced in the access, retention and success of female students in the non-traditional area of Contemporary Music at the University, said Leigh Carriage, lecturer in the Contemporary Music program.

“This project gives students the opportunity to experience first-hand the diversity of professional women working in the contemporary music industry, and to meet, be taught by, and network with, some leading female practitioners,” Leigh said.

While in the area, Jodi will be giving public performances on Friday, March 20 at 6pm, at the Ewingsdale Hall, Pacific Highway, Ewingsdale and at the Winsome Hotel, 11 Bridge Street, North Lismore, on Sunday, March 22 at 6pm.

You can visit her website at

Photo: Singer and songwriter Jodi Martin will be a guest lecturer at Southern Cross University on Monday, March 23.